AFL Brisbane Lions Football Dir Leigh Matthews Blasts Clubs' 'Ridiculous' Football Splurges
Australian Football League side Brisbane Lions Football Dir Leigh Matthews has declared that the splurge in football-department spending is "a real flaw in the administration of the game," as AFL Carlton CEO Greg Swann raised the possibility that "maintaining 18 clubs could prove to be impractical unless there is policy change," according to Jon Pierik of THE AGE. Matthews believes the "penny is dropping" within club land. Matthews: "There is a salary cap on players and it's been completely ridiculous that the sport has allowed the non-player expenditure to explode. As we know, the rich and powerful can fund the explosion but those who can't are just bankrupting themselves just trying to keep up." The "salary cap on player payments per club last year" was A$9.14M. Matthews said that a A$10M ($8.8M) cap, "excluding player payments, would suffice" (THE AGE, 1/29). In Melbourne, Grant Baker reported "Matthews said being privy to the club's economic position was 'scary.'" Brisbane made a A$1.6M loss last year, is mired in A$10M debt and managed only a A$100,000 increase in football spending in '13. Matthews tweeted, "Rich clubs love the competitive advantage their wealth provides. They will never embrace equalisation unless forced. Power struggle looming!" But AFL Hawthorn President Andrew Newbold -- whose side "won the premiership last year after forking out the league's biggest jump in spending" -- called for a "slow and steady approach to any economic reforms" (HERALD SUN, 1/28).